Lebanon imposes tough Easter lockdown

Beirut, Apr 3 (efe-epa).- A strict lockdown came into force in Lebanon on Saturday to prevent the spread of the coronavirus during Easter.

It is the only country in the Middle East to take such measures during Holy Week celebrations.

From the early hours of Saturday until Tuesday, Lebanese people are barred from leaving their homes.

Workers in sectors such as fishing, agriculture, pharmacies and supermarkets are exempted from those limitations.

Although family feasts and procession are prohibited, the authorities have allowed worshipers to pray at temples with a special permit as long as they do not exceed 30 percent capacity.

Lebanon, where over 35 percent of the population is Christian, saw a spike in the coronavirus cases after Christmas, which prompted the authorities to impose a long lockdown.

The coronavirus positivity rate and deaths remain high, while admissions intensive care units have dropped, thanks in part to vaccinations of people over 75 years, the Rafik Hariri University Hospital CEO Firas Abiad said on Twitter on Saturday.

Since receiving its first batch of vaccines in mid-February, Lebanon has prioritized healthcare personnel and elderly people, with only 153,000 out of nearly 7 million inhabitants immunized.

Lebanon has detected more than 3,500 cases over the past 24 hours, bringing the total to nearly 472,000 infections, according to the health ministry. The death toll stands at nearly 6,300.

 “Some of our coronavirus data is encouraging, but many challenges lie ahead, more vaccines are needed, people should avoid congregations. The social customs of Easter and Ramadan are sincerely missed, but we have to wait a little longer,” Abiad added. EFE-EPA

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